Between pumping fresh blood into romantic comedies with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and bringing the Muppets back to the big screen, Jason Segel has found a lot of success in show business following his breakout role in the beloved but too-soon cancelled “Freaks and Geeks.”
All of this success has earned Segel a lot of creative freedom. One of the many proejcts Segel has worked on recently is a children’s book series called “Nightmares!” which landed on the New York Times Best Sellers List.
Segel summed up his horror story for kids during a conversation with David Fear at 92nd Street Y, where he was promoting his upcoming film “The End of the Tour.”
“It was about a kid who’s mother passes away … he has very complicated feelings about his step-mother and he has nightmares about witches eating his toes. Because I have a recurring nightmare about witches eating my toes. Because when you’re a baby adults eat your toes. So his little brother gets kidnapped by the witches into the nightmare world. Charlie ventures into the nightmare world. Each faces their biggest fears along the way and that’s how they accomplish their dreams,” Segel summed it up.
However, it wasn’t always his intention to write a book for kids. In fact, “Nightmares!” is actually based off of the first screenplay Segel ever wrote. Segel had trouble finding acting work for a few years following the cancellation of “Freaks and Geeks.” To circumvent the exhausting audition process, Segel decided to try his hand at writing his own material.
“It was the first script I ever wrote when I was 21 years old.” Segel said. “Judd [Apatow] told me I needed to go off and write my own material so I went off and wrote this script called ‘Nightmares.'”
This script sat on a shelf for seven years and like a majority of screenplays, it never went anywhere. As Segel told Marc Maron on WTF, the second script he wrote was “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” which was made in 2008 and turned Segel into a breakout movie star.
Yet, “Nightmares!”, which came out in 2014, had a profound impact on Segel. In “The End of the Tour,” Segel takes on perhaps his most dramatic role yet as the late author David Foster Wallace. The same advice he gives to kids in “Nightmares!” is what gave him the courage to take on this acting challenge.
“The central theme of the books is that your nightmares are the gatekeeper to your dreams. But they’re not there for no reason. That they’re there to challenge you and facing your nightmares is what allows you to achieve your dreams. And I thought to myself … ‘Man, I cannot tell 10 year olds to do what they’re afraid of and not do it myself,'” said Segel.
“The End of the Tour” will be out in theatres on July 31.
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